Wednesday, February 20, 11:10 AM . . .

Barton was in Carl Williams’s office, taking a momentary break from his meeting with the CEO, astounded at the conversation they’d been having. Williams had wandered off to refresh his coffee but promised to come right back. The two men had been talking since 10 am. No one-on-one meeting with the CEO in Barton’s recent memory had lasted this long, and Williams appeared eager to continue. The relationship between the two had improved since the first of the year, for reasons Barton didn’t completely understand.

True, things looked better for IVK than they had for a while. The stock price had risen past $50, much better than when Williams had taken over, though not yet nearly ...

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